A WW2 veteran whose medals were ripped from his chest by a mugger while paying his respects at his local cenotaph has had them replaced.
96-year-old Jim Marland – a former Private, who served with the Durham Light Infantry Brigade – was at Rochdale Cenotaph prior to Remembrance Day when he was sadly pushed to the ground and robbed of his war medals and other personal belongings.
It was a couple of days before the shaken former soldier felt able to tell his family about the shocking incident – but, after a serving soldier came across the heartbreaking tale on social media, Mr Marland has now received replacements of his original medals during a surprise presentation at Rochdale football club.
Mr Marland received the replacement medals on the pitch at half-time of Rochdale A.F.C’s League Two match with Stevenage.
The veteran also received a guard of honour, while the crowd applauded his entrance.
The stolen medals included the 1939/45 War Star for active service during the Second World War, the France/Germany Star, the Defence Medal earned for service in the UK which was under attack, and the 1939/45 War Medal, also known as the Victory Medal.
Major Linehan explained: “I’m a military historian and a couple of weeks ago, while on a battlefield study in Sicily, I was on Facebook and spotted a re-post from a friend Steve Shires, who I served with in Northern Ireland, saying a veteran had been pushed over and had his medals stolen.
“I immediately said I would replace them from my stock.”
Major Linehan travelled five and a half hours from Kent to make the presentation, and even got to chat with Jim prior to the presenting the replica medals.
Speaking after the surprise presentation of the medals, Jim Marland said: “It was a surprise and I want to thank everyone that’s been so nice to me,” and even jokingly added: “If I’d known I was coming to this, I’d have out another row of medals on.”
As well as the medals, 103 REME also provided a replacement beret with an original WW2 cap badge worn by a relative of ex-Corporal Buckley (Royal Engineers) and an original WW1 cap badge worn by a Great Uncle of Flight Lieutenant Martin, who served with Major Linehan.
“The big Army family got together to produce this award and it was a wonderful privilege to give back to someone who gave so much for all of us,” Major Linehan added.
Featured Image – British Army / Ministry of Defence
Paddy McGuinness teases potential return of Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere
Right, we don’t mean to alarm you all, but Max and Paddy might finally be coming back after nearly 20 years.In other entirely unrelated news, there is a god.
We only ever got one solitary season of Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, but it only took six episodes for it to leave us with lasting memories of rolling on the floor laughing and quoting lines all these years later.
The Phoenix Nights spin-off went on to be not just a cult favourite but an iconic British sitcom that rivalled the show that spawned it, cementing both Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness as even greater household names than they already were.
Cut to nearly two nearly full decades later and Paddy himself has teased that the hit Northern comedy might not be done after all. Battle stations, people — we’re on the campaign trail now.
Speaking to Capital Breakfast this week, McGuinness came on to the subject of Max and Paddy return, saying that “the interesting thing about Max and Paddy, and Phoenix Nights is now, we are kind of all of an age of the people we played back then.”
He admitted that while they “do talk about it and what have you” and would love to see the full cast return someday, he just “can’t see it at the minute”.
However, he did go on to insist “never say never” and, more promisingly, that the comedy duo’s comeback, specifically, could very well be on the cards.
“Like Max and Paddy, for instance, we wrote a couple of Christmas specials, and we’ve still got them”, says McGuinness. “We never got around to doing one for whatever reason back in the day. But we’ve actually got them.”
The 49-year-old went on to clarify that more than one script has already been written for some time, but they’ve just been kept on the backburner given that he is admittedly “inherently lazy” and likes “doing as little as possible”, it just never came to fruition.
“If you’re doing a scripted comedy show, it does take a long time. So to do something like [this], you have literally got to blank out 12 months of your life.
“He [Kay] is on tour. I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, and it’s just sort of going ‘right, let’s get together. Let’s get our diaries together. And let’s blank out for that time'”. We don’t know a single person that wouldn’t want to see a Max and Paddy return in some form.
While hosts Roman Kemp and Siân Welby urged people to get flooding them with texts and posting all over social media, the former Take Me Out presenter joked it “won’t make a blind bit of difference.” Come on, Paddy, don’t let us down now.